Strat Wiring / Philosophy of Cleans


Hey Steve,

It’s great to hear that you’re gonna be getting back out on the road.

Meanwhile, I was wondering if you can point me at a good write-up that explains the wiring of your 60 Strat w lipstick pickups. I have a vague recollection of a boost circuit, maybe a p/u selector that functions like a tone knob .. and other possible myths. But I’m pretty certain that the specifics of your solutions are worth a better understanding.

And any ancillary SK cleans philosophy or amp tech would be of interest as well.

Thanks so much and kind regards,
July ‘21

Ian, NY

One Thought on Strat Wiring / Philosophy of Cleans
    8 Jul 2021

    The white Strat is super simple, easiest way to think of it is “Tele”.
    Two pickups with RWRP bridge, a three-way switch, and a single 250k volume control. No tone. .
    The middle pickup has it’s own 250k volume control. No tone.

    The volume controls are wired backwards or independently so turning one off doesn’t turn the other off.

    That’s it.
    The loading and interaction of those pickups and pots gets great dark tones when turned down, I never miss the standard tone control.

    It’d be a mistake to think of my white Strat’s electronics as “solution”.
    Somewhere back in the early 80’s I got my hands on some lipsticks and figured I’d like them better than whatever was in the guitar when I got it.
    I kept the stock 250k volumes, moved them down one position and deleted the tone because I kept hitting the normal Strat volume knob while I was playing.

    Anyway, I learned to use it over the years more or less. Still learning! I still find new things to do with that set-up.
    The big takeaway might be the RWRP bridge, so much more useful than RWRP middle, but you won’t really know until you live with it a while.


    As far as “clean” guitar sounds go it’s more about the guitar than the amp, and regardless of the acoustic goodness of the chassis, if the guitar’s output is clipping the input of the amp, you could do better.
    That being said, most of what we think of as clean guitar sounds are more colorful than clean.
    Just not totally distorted.

    Personally, if I can get enough volume to play responsibly with just a little headroom left, and then beat the guitar and amp into singing a little, I’m satisfied.
    Fender combo amps seem like a good choice for that sort of playing. Mid 20’s to 50 or so watts, mix and match.

    Philosophy? : )
    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Electric guitar is already “A Sound”.
    You don’t have to do anything to “get a sound”, just use what’s there.
    When I was a teen trying to play in a band I used the same stuff all the “good guys” used; a Gibson guitar and a Fender amp.
    It didn’t matter who I was listening to, Ted Nugent or Wes Montgomery, Steve Howe or Duane Allman, George Harrison or Jerry Garcia, Chuck Berry, Freddie King, BB King, Albert King, Mike Bloomfield, Terry Haggerty, Carlos Santana, Dickey Betts, Robben Ford, etc
    You get the idea. .
    Those guys all sounded great, all instantly recognizable, and they all got their highly individual results with pretty much exactly the same stuff.
    It was all just “electric guitar”.

    ok, cool, great question!

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